SKRH Public Programs

Who We Are

A survivor-centered storytelling project, Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston enables Houston-based evacuees to record the voices of their peers. This effort offers survivors the opportunity to share their stories on their own terms. By giving voice to their own experiences, memories and interpretations, survivors take control of how they are portrayed, how these historic disasters are understood now and in the future, and how they introduce themselves to their new neighbors in Houston, Texas.

Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston: Who We Are weds speakers’ images and stories to explore the diversity, the dreams, the disappointments, and the very real day-to-day lives of the survivor community. No matter their status, all hurricane survivors experienced great loss and devastating dislocation, yet all are working to reestablish themselves and rebuild their lives. Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston: Who We Are counters the sensational stories and the startling images that have attempted to stereotype the survivor community as victims, deadbeats, or even criminals. In their own words, the storytellers continually affirm that their fellow survivors are selfless friends, compassionate strangers, loving neighbors, and, above all, heroes.

The exhibition photographs were taken by Alice McNamara, a native of Houston who was living in New Orleans at the time of Katrina. She has participated in Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston as an interviewer and is now photographing many of the individuals who have told their stories through the project. As a fellow survivor, she brings a sense of shared experience to her work and an eagerness to restore dignity to her peers. Her photographs are a direct response to the single most common reason survivors give for wanting to participate in the Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston project: “We want people to know who we are.”

The “Who We Are” exhibit has gone on tour. It has been hosted at the following venues:

  • Art League Houston, Houston Texas
  • Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas
  • Rice University, Houston, Texas
  • Carver Museum, Austin, Austin Texas

Following are several of the images that are featured in the Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston:“Who We Are” exhibit.
Click the images to hear an excerpt from the storyteller's interview.

Lumar LeBlanc Dr. Bong Mui Dione Morgan
Linda Jeffers Henry Armstrong Felicia Lipp
Denise Robinson Glen Guidroz Selbin, Lexi, and Mirta Castro
Natasha Morgan Parker Benny Kenny Glenda Harris
Debra Brown Colleen Kotts Sonya Salvant
Isabel Fernandez Phylicia Bradley Al “Carnival Time” Johnson

For details on how to book the show, contact the project archivist at